taruma
taruma
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December 2008
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taruma [userpic]
Precious And Fragile Things

This is the fic I'm most proud of.

Precious And Fragile Things ½
Author: taruma
Pairing: Spike/Xander
Rating: FRT
Feedback: yes, please
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant
Summary: Season 7 of BTVS Spike’s reflections after the vineyard, Xander’s thoughts at the end scene. Two parts, but can be read separately. Inspired by a song
Beta: [info]realtsunamigirl Thanks for your help and for making this better! *smooches*





They had taken their wounded to the hospital after the battle with Caleb in the vineyard.

Battle, Spike snorted. It was a trap and we went like lambs to the slaughter.

He was left alone with his thoughts. Most of the hurt Potentials had been taken care of and were back at Buffy’s house. Buffy herself had just left Xander’s room and only Willow remained with him. Spike lurked near the room in hearing distance, for vampires at least, and waited for Willow to leave.

He really hated hospitals, the smell of disinfectants with hints of disease and death, empty halls which made every sound clang in Spike’s ears. It all made his skin crawl.

Nearly all of Sunnydale hospital was abandoned like the rest of town. For the first time the people of Sunnydale were not ignoring the signs.

This floor was the only one kept busy, with a few nurses and doctors, so nobody bothered Spike when he lit a cigarette to calm himself a bit. He’d have liked to be pacing around like an animal in a cage, but couldn’t let himself be seen.

Nobody knew about them, that he and Xander were together. Well, nobody but Anya.

***

She found them kissing in Buffy’s basement. She looked stunned, then appreciatively and bluntly asked about a threesome.

After another long look in Xander’s guilt-ridden face she said, “You know Xander, if you’d done that three years ago in your basement, you could have saved all three of us a lot of trouble.”

Xander flushed a deep red from the roots of his hair down to his neck.

“Oh god, you did.” Anya exclaimed disbelieving. “You cheated on me with Spike. Or did you cheat on Spike with me?” She asked, a bit confused, brows furrowed.

“Well, you were just back and Spike was still living in the basement with me, I mean, staying there, you know? We had that fight, you and I, remember? I got a bit drunk afterwards and Spike was there. It just happened, only once, back then.” Xander babbled, not able to stop himself.

Spike watched the whole scene with amusement. At that point, he didn’t care anymore if anybody found out about them.

“Please, don’t tell anyone, ok?” Xander pleaded. “Now is not the time, with all the girls here and the First threatening everything.”

With a glance at both of them, she slowly nodded. “Ok, I won’t, for now, but only if I can tell Buffy when this is all over.” A little grin appeared on her face.

She turned around and went back up the stairs with the words, “By the way, he is a good kisser, isn’t he, Xander?”

***

The memory brought a smile on Spike’s face. It immediately vanished when he listened to the hushed voice from the room. He could hear the pain in Xander’s voice.

Patience wasn’t one of Spike’s strong suits, but he had to wait until Willow was gone.

He let his thoughts wander again, back to the time when Buffy had brought him to Xander’s apartment a few months ago.

***

Still half out of his mind, he lay mostly on the bed in the spare room.

One day, Xander stormed in and said, “Ok, spill. I want to know the truth. I mean, you said you love her and then you try to…you know.” He gestured helplessly with his arm, not even wanting to say the word.

“Rape. I tried to rape her.” Spike rasped out, heavily sitting up on the bed. “She told me she was in heaven weeks before the music and dancing demon.” His thoughts drifted away until Xander poked him.

He looked up at Xander slightly unfocused. “Do you really want to hear it?”

Xander fisted his hands for a moment, then took a calming breath and nodded. He sat down on a chair across the bed.

“Ok then. When Giles left, we started fucking. That was all it was, just fucking. I know that now. Back then, I thought I had what I always wanted, Buffy. It was always rough, hard, mostly violent.” He laughed bitterly. “Just what a demon would want, isn’t that what you all think?”

He paused and took an unneeded breath to put his emotions back under control. Unsure, he risked a glance at Xander to see how he took that, what he thought.

Just this once, he wanted to get it all out, to confess and Xander seemed to be willing to listen, so Spike continued.

“It ended soon enough and I was miserable, drinking a lot. Having had a bit of her and then having that taken away again, was torture. I wanted to stop that, so I went to the Magic Shop to get some spell. Life or unlife was easier, when I hated her. Funny Spike, falling for a Slayer.” He giggled, sounding a bit like Drusilla.

“Where was I? Oh hmm, Magic Shop with Anya.” Putting the right memories together was still hard for him. He rubbed his temples. “That was shortly after your not-taken-place wedding, right? Anya was miserable too; I could see it in her eyes, hear it in her voice. We talked about you and Buffy, why you couldn’t just love us. She looked so lost and vulnerable and I kissed her. I could taste and smell the demon in her, but she was still so fragile. You hurt her so much.”

Spike watched Xander for a moment and saw him averting his eyes guiltily before he went on.

“We were drunk by then, it just happened. It had nothing to do with revenge. It was taking solace in each other, drowning our sorrows together, forgetting, if only just for the moment. Probably, it shouldn’t have happened and you all surely shouldn’t have seen it. I’m sorry.”

The last sentence was whispered.

Spike slowly looked up from his hands to Xander, willing him to understand at least that. He hadn’t wanted to hurt him.

Xander met his gaze and held it for a moment, searching his eyes. Then he gestured for Spike to go on.

So, Spike continued, “I went to Buffy that night to apologise. But when she said, she had feelings for me, I hoped again. Everything got out of hand. I tried to will her to love me, force her to feel something for me. She pleaded with me to stop, saying ‘no’ the whole time. Then she threw me off and I saw her frightened face, it was as if a haze was lifted.”

By now, he was choking on the words, rocking slightly, back and forth. His hands went from his thighs over his face to his hair then back down. He was unable to keep them still.

“God, oh god, how could I do that to the woman I claimed to love. Whatever evil things I did in the past, rape was never one of them.

Back in my crypt the picture of Buffy’s face haunted me, I tried to drown it in alcohol. I crashed a lot of things that night.” He slammed his hands to the sides of his head, feeling the control over his thoughts slipping away again.

“No, no, I didn’t and I don’t need your opinion anyway.” He mumbled to someone’s voice, speaking in his head. Spike shook his head to clear his mind.

“I felt guilty the whole time. I shouldn’t have felt guilt, you know. As you all always reminded me so well, I’m an evil, soulless, undead monster. Well, I was soulless then.” His eyes drifted back to Xander, returning to his tale.

“I blamed it all on the chip in my head.” His left hand went up to his head again, fist pressed to the side of it. He gave a short bitter laugh.

At this point, Xander leaned forward in the chair and had opened his mouth, as if to say something, but closed it again.

Spike’s voice was still barely above a whisper when he said, “I went to Africa. I had heard of a demon, which gives you what you want, if you win some trials. At this point, I was angry at everything, the chip, myself, the Initiative, even at Buffy. All I had in mind was getting the chip out of my head, becoming what I was before that. So, I drove to LA, bought a flight ticket, and flew there overnight. Getting out of the airport was a bit tricky, I had to lurk around there a few hour till sundown without attracting attention.” He giggled again, his eyes unfocused.

“You just flew there? What about sunshine through the windows? And where did the money come from anyway?” Xander asked, indignant.

“What? Did you think I got there in a casket? Plane windows are real small. I sat in the middle. I have money.” Spike chuckled, amused, in one of his saner moments.

“After the hellmouth and vengeance demons, I should have known better, don’t you think? I found the demon, fought the trials. But, of course, couldn’t be clear with what I wanted. Make me what I was.” Spike shook his head, looked down his body and then screamed, “This is not what I wanted. Not what I ever was. I never was a vamp with a soul.”

He slumped down again. “I don’t remember, how I got out of the caves or back to Sunnydale.” He slowly whispered.

He looked straight in Xander’s eyes, his mind halfway together for the first time, to see his reaction.

Xander leaned back in his chair and looked straight back. “So, you didn’t really get your soul for Buffy?”

“Oh, I got it for Buffy. If not for her, if not for my feelings for her, I would have never gone to Africa in the first place, would I?” He shook his head.

“But I didn’t want one, not for Buffy, not for anything in the world. Why would I want one? Do you really think, a soul makes you better?”

Xander sighed. “Well, I thought so, once. I mean, people do bad stuff all the time with their souls and some demons are nice. Look at Clem, look at Willow. Not long ago, the world stopped being black and white for me.”

Spike had to grin at that. It looked like Xander had changed, too.

“You know, what’s funny, Xander? One good thing has come with the soul. My feelings for Buffy have stopped. The soul is really disgusted with what I tried to do, but it’s disgusted with what she did to me, too. William wouldn’t be too fond of her.”

“You mean the human, you were before you became a vampire?” Xander asked, curious.

“No, not just the human, even as a vampire I was too human. I was William until Angelus succeeded in beating and humiliating me enough. I learned to keep that part hidden, to become Spike.” For a moment, memories of his early times as a vampire flooded him.

“But you all shouldn’t mistake me for a second Angel. I’m not like him. When I’m done dealing with the guilt and the voices inside me,” he tipped his finger to his forehead, then to his heart, “I won’t be much different than before.”

He gazed at Xander, challenging, sounding like himself for the first time.

Xander met the challenge and said, “Good. I don’t like broodboy anyway and we really don’t need a second one.”

He stood up and went to the door. “Thanks for being honest and the explanation of the Anya thing. I still would have preferred to not have seen it, but I can understand it.”

He was nearly out of the door, when he whispered, “I’m sorry, for treating you like that.”

Spike was stunned; he would have never expected an apology from Xander.

When a nightmare had Spike screaming the next night, Xander came to his room and gently held him, whispering soothing words, pulling him out of his dreams. He sat with him, his hand stroking calming up and down his arm until Spike fell asleep again. It kept the voices at bay.

***

The cigarette had a calming effect on Spike, at least a little. He kept the memory of Xander’s reluctant soothing that night as a treasure. It had been a beginning.

***

They started a kind of friendship after that. Watching TV together, arguing about characters, playing pool and drinking beer together. Slowly Spike felt like himself again and to his surprise, it was fun to hang out with Xander.

By this time, the first Potentials had arrived at Buffy’s, so nobody wondered about them.

How they came from friendship to relationship in such a short time, Spike couldn’t say. One moment, they were arguing about American versus ‘real’ football on the couch, the next minute they were kissing like they wanted to devour each other.

But this time was different then their encounter in the basement, some years ago. It went deeper, felt like much more. This time they talked about it, found out that they wanted more. They wanted to be together.

When the things around them became worse, they decided not to tell anybody about them.

When that demon girl strapped Xander to that wheel, bleeding, Spike had nearly lost it. All he wanted was Xander out of there, home, all for himself. But there was no way with Buffy and Woods there. So, they brought him to Buffy’s house.

Back there, Willow helped them without knowing, saying that Xander would be better at his own apartment and Spike was the natural choice to go with him. A vampire in a house full of Slayer Potentials was not making anyone happy.

***

Spike still flinched at that memory of seeing Xander hanging there. He had failed him then and he had failed him with Caleb again, but so much more.

He didn’t want do remember but the pictures came nonetheless.

***

Caleb grabbed Xander, who had helped the Potentials escape the vineyard. He looked at Xander and said something about him being the one who sees, but not any longer.

Even though a few feet away, Spike heard the words and froze for a moment, a precious moment. One moment that could have made a difference. Spike ran towards them and pushed Caleb away, but not before he squeezed one of Xander’s eyes out of its socket with his thumbs.

He could smell the blood that oozed out of the socket and the demon inside him roared, wanting revenge. Someone touched what it thought as his. For the first time, the soul didn’t object to the massive violence the demon suggested.

But Spike stomped down on it, he had to get Xander to safety and help. That was all that mattered.

***

A shudder went through Spike and guilt washed over him. Why haven’t I been faster? Why have I been frozen in place?

He heard Willow saying her goodbye and saw her leaving the room.

Spike was at the door of the hospital room in a flash, taking in Xander’s form in the bed, bandage over his left eye.

Unable to enter the room, he stayed in the doorway, hoping against everything that this was just one of his nightmares. He gripped the doorway so hard that the wood nearly splintered in his frustration and shame.

Xander heard the sound and looked up and to the door; a little smile appeared on his face.

“You’re here,” relief evident in his voice. He petted the bed with his right hand, indicating for Spike to sit with him.

“Were else would I be?” Spike replied, moving slowly to the bed and sat down on it next to Xander’s hip.

He took Xander’s right hand in both of his and said in a low voice, “I’m sorry.”

At the same time Xander said, “Thank you.”

Looking at each other in surprise, they said together, “What for?” Now they were both smiling and the tension eased a bit.

Spike gestured to Xander to begin.

“You saved me again. If you hadn’t knocked him away, Caleb would have taken my other eye, too. So, thank you.” He explained.

Spike shook his head in denial and replied, “I should have been faster or seen it earlier, than you would still have both eyes. I’m so sorry.”

He couldn’t raise his eyes back to Xander, feeling so guilty.

Xander lifted his chin, so that he could look in Spike’s eyes. “It happened, ok? No thank you, but no I’m sorry either. We’ll get through this, right?”

His hand found Spike’s again to hold and take strength from it.

Spike nodded slowly and stroked lightly over the bandaged side of Xander’s face, wishing to be able to take away the pain, at least.


Angels with silver wings
Shouldn’t know suffering
I wish I could take the pain for you.



Authors note: Title and quote taken from the song Precious from Depeche Mode, lyrics by Martin L. Gore

On to the Second Part